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3 posts from September 5, 2013

September 05, 2013

Largest crowd for a Canes game at Sun Life expected Saturday as season-ticket packages nearly gone

The largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history for a Hurricanes game is expected Saturday when the University of Miami hosts the Florida Gators in what could very well be the final regular season meeting between the two rivals.

And if you don't have a ticket yet expect to pay top dollar for a last minute seat. The game, long sold out, has individual tickets selling on the secondary market for close to $200.

The demand for Saturday's game has certainly helped the Hurricanes' season ticket sales. According to Chris Freet, Assistant Athletics Director for Communications and Marketing, only 350 to 400 of 30,000 season ticket packages remain. The cheapest are going for $390 with the most expensive stretching to $1,400.

UM sold a little less than 23,000 season tickets last year according to Freet.

Miami brought in an extra 1,313 seats behind the home team bench to accommodate a bigger crowd. Freet said capacity for Saturday's game has been set for 76,854.

The largest home crowd for a Hurricanes game at Sun Life was 75,115 for Florida State on Oct. 9, 2010. Miami, which has averaged about 48,560 fans a game since moving from the Orange Bowl, has only drawn better than 60,000 for a game five other times.

Those are: Oct. 20, 2012 vs. Florida State (73,328); Sept. 17, 2011 vs. Ohio State (66,279); Oct. 4, 2008 vs. Florida State (65,786); Sept. 5, 2011 vs. Duke (62,053); Oct. 3, 2009 vs. Oklahoma (61,790).

The largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history for a college football game was 80,120 for last year's BCS title game between Alabama and Notre Dame.

Freet said Governor Charlie Crist and state senator Marco Rubio are expected to attend Saturday's game. Cortez Kennedy, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Ray Lewis and Bernie Kosar are among the former players who have already confirmed with UM they will attend.

Former Hurricanes basketball standout James Jones has also reserved a suite for him and several Heat teammates.

Freet said 115 recruits and 350 high school football coaches have been invited to the game by Miami.

Former Hurricanes quarterback Brock Berlin, a transfer from Florida, is UM's honorary captain and will be involved in the pre-game coin flip.

"We expect a few other local celebrities to come out of the wood work," Freet said.

With prepaid parking passes sold out, the only available parking spots at the stadium are in the auxiliary lots. They go for $30. You must show a game ticket to park.

"I know for 2010 Florida State game there were 8,000 people just partying in the auxiliary parking lot that never came into the game," Freet said. "Because the stadium just went through the BCS title game, I think they've got the patterns worked out and traffic will move pretty quickly. But everybody should add a little extra time for their drive and parking."

Who is on UM's recruiting guest list for the Florida game Saturday?

UM's sports information staff said 115 recruits and 350 high school football coaches have been invited to attend Saturday's showdown with the Florida Gators. 

UM coach Al Golden called it a “who’s who” list of top high school prospects.

Miami Herald Recruiting Writer Safid Deen has spent all week tracking down who those prospects are.

For starters, here is a list of the big names who will not be in attendance.

> Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer’s Johnnie Dixon, one of UM’s biggest wide receiver targets, will be on an official visit to N.C. State this weekend with fellow wide receiver teammate Clint Stephens, who also holds a UM offer.

> Two top juniors in South Florida who hold UM offers, Miami Gulliver Prep linebacker Dominic Sheppard and Hollywood McArthur safety Kendrell McFadden, wanted to attend the game, but didn’t hear back from UM’s coaching staff regarding an invite and will not attend.

> Homestead wide receiver Ermon Lane, Davie University School cornerback Quincy Wilson and Plantation athlete Chris Lammons – who all announced their pledge to UF on Aug. 13 – will not be in Sun Life Stadium. Lane and Wilson both have games on Saturday night, with early check-in times preventing them from attending the game. Lammons, who took an official visit to Gainesville for UF’s home opener against Toledo last weekend, said he’s taking no more visits.

Some heralded 2014 standouts both schools are looking to make an impact on that will be there:

  • West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who claims more than 25 offers from schools across the nation including UF, UM and FSU.
  • Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road wide receiver Braxton Berrios is using his second official visit to attend to Saturday’s game. He visited Oregon last weekend, and has official visits planned to South Carolina and Tennessee. He plans to announce his college decision in October.
  • Plantation American Heritage receiver/running back Isaiah McKenzie, who has gained national attention on ESPN for his playmaking abilities. He’s down to Notre Dame, Rutgers and West Virginia, and said he was looking for a UM offer “sooner, but it didn’t come so I really don’t care for it.”
  • Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Anthony Moten, who was previously committed to UF, but is uncommitted.  
  • South Dade wide receiver Tyre Brady, who holds offers from Miami, Kentucky, FSU, FAU and Minnesota.
  • Miami Central offensive lineman Michael Smith (USF commit) and Reginald Bain (FAU commit), and defensive back Deatrick Nichols (USF commit).

As far as 2015 prospects expected to attend:

  • Hialeah Westminster Christian athlete Tim Irvin, nephew of UM great Michael Irvin, and tight end Devonaire Clarington both claims offers from more than 10 schools including UM, UF, FSU, Georgia and Alabama. Running back teammate Jordan Cronkrite holds offers from FAU, Clemson and Cincinnati, but has interest in UM and UF.
  • Plantation American Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson, who has offers from Miami, Ohio State and Florida State, amongst others.
  • Miramar cornerback Tyrek Cole claims offers from more than 15 schools, including UF, UM and FSU.
  • Pompano Beach Monarch athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker claims offers from schools like UM, UF, LSU and Alabama.
  • Miami Central defensive back Calvin Brewton, who has picked up some recruiting steam and recently claimed offers from Clemson, West Virginia, USF, Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida State, is still waiting to hear from UM and UF.
  • Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Devante Peete claims offers from schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Miami, Florida and Clemson.
  • Miami Killian safety Jaquan Johnson, who holds offers from more than 10 schools including UF, FSU and UM.
  • Miami Jackson WR Jovon Durante, a West Virginia commit who holds a UM offer.
  • Weston Cypress Bay linebacker Danny Thomas, who has yet to receive an offer from both schools as of now.
  • Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy linebacker Jeff Holland, who claims more than 40 offers from schools, including UF and UM.
  • Orlando Timber Creek athlete Jacques Patrick claims offers from several schools including UM, UF, FSU, Auburn, and Michigan.

UM’s stacked 2014 recruiting class will be well represented with as many as 15 recruits expected to attend – all on unofficial visits. 

  • Miami Central OT Trevor Darling
  • Miami Central RB Joseph Yearby  
  • Winter Park DE Trent Harris  
  • Hialeah Champagnat Catholic DT Travonte Valentine
  • Miami Booker T. Washington DE Chad Thomas
  • Miami Booker T. Washington CB Nigel Bethel
  • Miami Booker T. Washington CB DE Demetrius Jackson
  • Deerfield Beach ATH Brandon Powell 
  • St. Petersburg Catholic OT Reilly Gibbons
  • Lake Worth Santaluces Community WR Darrell Langham
  • Poplarville (MS) Pearl River Community College DT Dalvon Stuckey
  • Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas OL Nick Linder  
  • Fort Lauderdale Dillard CB Dennis Turner
  • Pompano Beach Blanche Ely LB Terry McCray (will try to attend before his game Saturday night.)
  • Miami Carol City ATH Trayone Gray (will try to make it.)

Florida commits expected to attend:

  • Miami Central RB Dalvin Cook
  • Miami Central WR Da’Vante Phillips
  • Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna Prep DT Khairi Clark
  • Immokalee WR J.C. Jackson

UM 2014 commits who will NOT be in attendance:

  • Miami Northwestern DE Mike Smith (Saturday game).
  • Miami Northwestern CB Ryan Mayes
  • Palm Beach Central OL KC McDermott (has practice Saturday morning).
  • Mobile (Ala.) Faith Academy QB Malik Rozier (has tentative plans to take an official visit on Nov. 9 when UM hosts Virginia Tech.)
  • West Hills (Calif.) QB Brad Kaaya  
  • Albany (Ga.) LB Juwon Young
  • Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) TE Ryheem Lockley 
  • Norcross (Ga.) TE Chris Herndon
  • Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony OG Courtel Jenkins

Prospects with ties to one or both teams will not be in attendance:

  • Davie University School running back Jordan Scarlett, 2015, who claims at least 20 offers including UM, UF and FSU.
  • University School cornerback Rashard Causey, 2015, claims at least 15 offers including UM and UF.
  • University School athlete Sam Bruce, 2016, who claims at least 10 offers including UM and UF.
  • Miami Northwestern wide receiver Jojo Robinson, a 2014 FSU commit who holds a UM offer.
  • Tallahassee Lincoln wide receiver John Burt, 2015, who claims offers from FSU and UM.

The Herald is still working to confirm several players’ attendance before Saturday’s game. 

You can follow Safid on Twitter @Safid_Deen.

Larranaga has contract extended through 2022

Hurricanes basketball coach Jim Larranaga, fresh off lead the program to its first ACC regular season and postseason titles, has received a three-year extension from the University of Miami -- stretching his stay in South Florida through the 2022 season.

The Associated Press first reported the news and a University of Miami spokesman confirmed it. 

Larranaga, 63, will be a few months shy of his 73rd birthday when the contract expires.

“Since Jim and Liz's arrival at the University of Miami in 2011, they have had a tremendous impact not only on our basketball program and our student-athletes, but also on the South Florida community,” athletic director Blake James said in a statement released by the school. “The phenomenal on-court success of the team last season is just the start of something great. We are thrilled that Jim and Liz will be a fixture at UM for many years to come.”

Larranaga, 49-20 in two seasons at Miami, led the Hurricanes to 29 wins last season, a trip to the Sweet 16 and was The Associated Press' coach of the year. The Hurricanes were ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in the AP poll.

“The University of Miami is an elite academic institution, in a great geographical location, competing in the best basketball league in the country,” Larrañaga said in a statement released by the school. “It has always been my goal to compete at the very highest level, so I am fortunate, and humbled, that I will be able to pursue this opportunity for the remainder of my career.”